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November 14, 2013

For Immediate Release

For More Information Contact:
Carolyn Cordrey, Media Relations 
Phone (410) 739-2160

(BALTIMORE, November 14, 2013) - Restaurants that would like to improve food quality and service perception, and charge more per entrée, should strongly consider using cloth napkins, according to a recent U.S. restaurant consumer study commissioned by Milliken & Company, a leading manufacturer of table linen fabrics for the hospitality industry and a supplier to Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply. The study, conducted by a third-party research company, reviewed U.S. consumers’ preferences between paper and cloth napkins at sit-down restaurants. The study summary can be found on the Milliken website:

The study found that a majority of U.S. consumers prefer to dine at sit-down restaurants with a cloth napkin. This preference is associated with the potential for a higher restaurant check average, since, when dining at a table set with cloth napkins, 50 percent of the respondents said they expect to pay more for the service. Consumers who said they preferred cloth napkins reported paying 64 percent more on an entrée than those who preferred paper napkins.

“Cloth napkins appear to allow restaurants to charge more for their food and increase the associated quality of the food and service,” said John Entsuah, general manager of napery at Milliken.   “This data gives restaurateurs an opportunity to understand and respond to consumer preferences.”

The study also found that U.S. consumers highly associate certain aspects of dining at a restaurant with tables set with cloth napkins: 77 percent notice the way a table is set when visiting a restaurant. • 82 percent associate it with a better restaurant appearance and ambiance • 75 percent with better food quality • 88 percent with better service • 84 percent with being environmentally friendly.

Daniel Wecker, chef and owner of The Elkridge Furnace Inn in Elkridge Maryland says cloth napkins are an integral component to their diligent effort to provide the best dining experience possible for each of their guests. “Every aspect of the dining experience is important to us. That includes the tabletop presentation. By definition and guest expectation, a white tablecloth restaurant offers the best quality food, beverage, service and physical accommodations available. We always use cloth napkins and tablecloths as we feel these provide the best tabletop impression for our guests.”

On environmental concerns specifically, 54 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed said cloth napkins were more environmentally friendly than paper napkins. Only 14 percent felt that paper napkins were more environmentally friendly than cloth napkins. The study also found that consumers use an average of three paper napkins per meal.

“Industrially laundered cloth napkins are used multiple times, versus a single-use paper napkin,” said P.J. Dempsey, President of Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply. “Our state-of-the-art processing system ensures that customers’ linen napkins are washed, dried and finished with techniques selected to maximize sustainability, meeting quality standards for conserving resources, controlling sewer discharges and otherwise minimizing environmental impact.  We deploy state-of-the-art, high-capacity washing, drying and wrinkle-removal equipment and document efficiencies in water and energy use and best management practices (BMPs)”. Dempsey Uniform & Linen Supply is a voluntary member of the Laundry Environmental Stewardship Program (LaundryESP®), and the US EPA Sustainability Partnership Program, which includes programs such as WaterSense, Energy Star and WasteWise.  

Finalized at the end of 2012, the Milliken study was conducted with a random sample of 308 U.S. consumers and has a margin of error of 5.6 percent and a confidence level of 95 percent for total U.S. consumers.

"We’ve always known that there is no substitute for high-quality table linens in terms of performance, durability and value,”  said John Entsuah, general manager of Napery at Milliken & Company “This study shows that using cloth napkins also makes a significant difference in the minds of consumers with respect to many of the areas restaurateurs are interested in improving. We expect that this will generate a second look from many who previously only considered paper napkins.”


A family-owned company founded in 1959, Dempsey Uniform and Linen Supply offers restaurant linen services and uniform rentals. Headquartered in Jessup, Pa., Dempsey has a service footprint that spans seven Mid-Atlantic states, including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington DC, Maryland, Delaware and Virginia. Its $18 million commercial laundry service facility in Jessup has received national recognition for its state-of-the-art, environmentally sound processing systems. Dempsey also has facilities in Sunbury and Harrisburg, Pa., as well as Baltimore, MD. 

As a distinguished leader among linen companies in environmental stewardship, last year Dempsey became the first laundry in the United States to achieve certification in the Textile Rental Services Association’s (TRSA) Clean Green Certification Program. The company is recognized for its high quality products, industry-tailored, cost-cutting service solutions and cutting edge, environmentally friendly laundry technologies. Collectively, these business characteristics make up what is known as the “Dempsey Difference.”

For more information:  or call 1-800-378-8060.


Milliken is an innovation company that has been exploring, discovering and creating ways to enhance people’s lives since 1865. Our community of innovators has developed one of the largest collections of patents held by a private company. With expertise across a breadth of disciplines including specialty chemical, floor covering and performance materials, we work around the world every day to add true value to people’s lives, improve health and safety and make this world more sustainable. For more information, visit